Hay need in­creases for cows

Gatton Star - - INTO RURAL - — Ali Kuchel

BILL Hal­las knows how tough drought con­di­tions can be for farm­ers.

The former Gat­ton sa­le­yard auc­tion­eer has seen many dif­fi­cult times as a live­stock agent and as a gra­zier him­self.

Run­ning 60 head of cat­tle across his two Lock­yer Valley prop­er­ties, Mr Hal­las said it was im­por­tant small farm own­ers did not ex­pect to “fat­ten” their live­stock dur­ing the drought.

He said an ad­e­quate sup­ply of hay and ac­cess to a lick block would en­sure cat­tle achieved the cor­rect nu­tri­ents to main­tain their health.

For the 20 head at his house farm, Mr Hal­las said the ma­jor­ity of hay was pro­vided to cows in-calf, as they had “dou­ble the job to do”.

“I’m not pro­vid­ing too much hay at all (for the rest of the stock), it would be less than one round bale a week,” he said.

Mr Hal­las re­serves a six-acre pad­dock each year, which he bales for his own use to get him through tough sea­sons.

In ad­di­tion to the hay, he pro­vides a lick block to give the herd min­er­als to con­vert the hay into en­ergy and pro­tein.

“The cat­tle will tell you if they don’t want it,” he said.

Not only is it vi­tal to sup­ply feed and lick but Mr Hal­las said to en­sure no twine or for­eign ob­jects were ac­ces­si­ble to cat­tle.

He said when feed­ing hay, be sure to pick up string and twine.

“When it’s dry like now, I’ve seen them eat poly pipe be­cause they are lack­ing food and they will try any­thing they can pick up,” he said.

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